Apr 7, 2009

Climb cutting with a handheld router

Climb Routing
Techniques and safety.
(all pictures in this article are clickable)

Climb routing is an alternate way of using your router. There are times in every woodworker’s life that he or she will encounter an instance of funny grain patterns. Most people approach this technique with a premature fear. But, there is nothing to fear when you are properly trained.

Previous experience with a router is a must, and you do have precautions to watch for.

On this particular piece you can see the grains pattern is left to right. The router cuts against this pattern creating a risk of splintering or chipping out. The reason you’d climb cut is to avoid this.

Let’s understand the term “climb”.

A router when in the upright position spins in a clockwise direction. The blades on the router bit are tilted the same way, so it cuts into the wood. When you make your cut, you travel from left to right, creating resistance on the bit. Giving yourself control over how much, and how fast.

When climbing you would travel from right to left creating a drag that pulls the router in that direction. This will climb the board because there is new material to grab and pull it that way, making a dangerous situation for the unsuspecting craftsman.

Special notes:

-Never climb cut on a router table unless you have two people. One person on each side
and the board is long enough for you both to have a grip the entire cut.

-Always use a router bit with bearings.

-Shapers can climb cut if the proper feeders are mounted to the machine. Only
experienced employees should attempt this.

-Stand in directly in front of travel direction, or directly behind so you have the most control over travel speed, never perpendicular unless it's absoulutly mandatory.

The Approach:

The approach is actually very simple. I stand in a boxer position, giving myself a solid foundation to balance on. I lock my elbows straight and use my core (stomach and back) muscles to resist the router.

Once started you can relax your elbows and gradually feed the router into the board. Following the line you need to route, but not going the full depth of the cut. Watch the video below to see how many passes it takes to run an Ogee pattern on ¾ red oak.

As you can see I don’t force the router, I let it take what the chip clearance allows. As I approached the end of my cut I felt it get a little heavy so I re-climbed that section. It’ best to hold your footing and climb one section at a time, all the way to the bearing. Once the length of the cut is finished do one pass the right direction as demonstrated in this video.

Respect the tool, Don’t fear it.
The finished product:

Frankie Talarico Jr.
Bulk woodshop supplies

1 comment:

  1. This is great information, thanks’ for share!